FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Derby vs Manchester United

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round – Derby County vs. Manchester United

Venue: iPro Stadium – Friday, January 29 – 19:55 GMT (14:55 ET) 

Match Odds: Derby 100/30 – Draw 12/5 – Man Utd 19/20

Match Preview

Derby welcome Manchester United to the iPro Stadium on Friday evening as fifth in the Championship play fifth in the Premier League in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Derby have hit a rough patch of form of late, losing three of their last four league games and are now seven points off the top of the Championship table.

They beat Hartlepool United 2-1 in the third round but know that the path to the next round has become a lot trickier with United visiting.

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The Rams are under pressure to get back to winning ways, and doing so in the FA Cup against Premier League giants would be the perfect way to alleviate that pressure.

Manchester United are certainly under pressure too. They are still five points off of fourth in the Premier League and are still not enough of an attacking threat, despite recording a couple of important wins of late.

They lost 1-0 at home to Southampton in their most recent outing and Louis Van Gaal may have to rest some key men for the trip to Derby, as the Red Devils face Stoke at Old Trafford during the midweek league fixtures.

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United go into this game as favourites but a lot will be asked of them, and failure to win will see even more pressure pile on to the club, and particularly the manager.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides since United beat Derby 4-1 in the fifth round of the FA Cup in 2009.

Key Points

Derby’s last five in all competitions: L/W/D/L/L

Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: Manchester United have won six-straight FA Cup clashes against Derby, the last five of which have come away from home.

Key Player: Marouane Fellaini – The powerful Belgian midfielder is expected to feature against Derby on Friday night and will look to cause the Championship side all kinds of problems with his fine aerial ability.

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Score Prediction

Derby 1-1 Manchester United – This is a tough one to call. Neither side are looking as strong as they should be and so a draw looks to be on the cards. That certainly won’t suit United, who could do without another fixture, but they don’t seem strong enough to go and win this game.


Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

Venue: St. James’ Park – Tuesday, January 12 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET) 

Match Odds: Newcastle 7/2 – Draw 5/2 – Man United 5/6

Match Preview

Newcastle host Manchester United in a key Premier League clash on Tuesday night, with both sides desperate for three points.

Newcastle lost their fourth straight game by a 1-0 scoreline in their FA Cup defeat at Watford on Saturday and have now scored just seven in their past eleven league games.

Steve McClaren remains under pressure with the Magpies still stuck in the relegation zone. A win here would pull them out of the bottom three for 24 hours at least, but that looks unlikely given their recent run of defeats.

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United travel to St. James’ Park as favourites and despite winning back-to-back games, they remain under pressure as performances continue to disappoint.

Louis Van Gaal watched his side struggle to beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday, requiring a stoppage time Wayne Rooney penalty to advance, and the Dutch coach is under just as much pressure as McClaren.

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The reverse fixture ended 0-0 at Old Trafford back in August and the same scoreline could well be played out in Newcastle on Tuesday, with both struggling to find the net.

Team News

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren could be without as many as 11 players for the visit of United here. Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita will hope to recover from knocks to give the Magpies some options in midfield, while Rolando Aarons and Fabricio Coloccini are both also doubtful. Papiss Cisse, Curtis Good, Massadio Haidara, Tim Krul, Gabriel Obertan, Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson all remain out.

Manchester United will hope Morgan Schneiderlin can return here. He is a doubt for this clash, as are Ashley Young and Phil Jones. But Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nick Powell, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw all remain sidelined.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Manchester United’s last five: L/L/L/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have only lost two of their last 28 games against Newcastle in all competitions.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The United captain has scored in back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to pile more misery on Newcastle here.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 0-0 Manchester United – With both sides struggling to take chances and goals at a premium for both, this looks likely to end goalless, just as the reverse fixture did back in August.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Swansea City

Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, January 2 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man United 4/7 – Draw 29/10 – Swansea 5/1

Match Preview

Manchester United face Swansea in a key Premier League battle between two sides desperate to start the new year off in better fashion than they ended 2015.

United manager Louis Van Gaal remains under intense pressure, with his job seemingly further on the line with every game that passes.

The Red Devils have not won in six Premier League outings in a row and despite looking more positive in Monday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, they remain five points off the top four and need to improve dramatically from now.

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Failure to beat Swansea here could well cost Van Gaal his job, with back-to-back away trips to Newcastle and Liverpool coming up in the league after Saturday’s game.

The Swans travel to Old Trafford in poor form themselves and are just two points above the relegation zone in 17th.

Interim manager Alan Curtis has seen their fortunes improve slightly over Christmas and they are now unbeaten in three consecutive league outings, without conceding a goal in those matches.

What had the promise of being an excellent campaign for the Welsh club has now become a relegation-threatened one and they must try and steer themselves clear of trouble quickly.

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A trip to Old Trafford is never easy but the Swans beat United 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and have now won their last three games with the Red Devils by the same scoreline, including the game at the end of August at the Liberty Stadium.

Team News

Manchester United will be without Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia once again here. Louis Van Gaal may name an unchanged side to the one that drew with Chelsea after an improved showing, despite not getting the win.

Swansea caretaker manager Alan Curtis remains in charge here and could even last the remainder of the season in that position. He made seven changes for Swansea’s draw at Palace and more can be expected here. Franck Tabanou remains out, while Federico Fernandez and Wayne Routledge are doubts.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: D/L/L/L/D

Swansea’s last five: L/L/D/W/D

Key Stat: Swansea have beaten Manchester United 2-1 in each of their last three league meetings.

Key Player: Anthony Martial – Martial scored Manchester United’s last goal, which came two weeks ago in the 2-1 home defeat to Norwich. He is always a threat and will look to lift spirits around Old Trafford with a fine showing here.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 1-1 Swansea – This is likely to be a really tense and nervy affair between two sides desperate for an upturn in results as we start the new year. Both have struggled to find the net of late and so a low-scoring game is likely to end in a draw.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Stoke vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Stoke City vs. Manchester United

Venue: The Britannia Stadium – Saturday, December 26 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET) 

Match Odds: Stoke 21/10 – Draw 21/10 – Man United 11/8

Match Preview

Stoke welcome Manchester United to the Britannia to kickstart a full day of Premier League action on Boxing Day in the early kickoff.

Both sides will be desperate to take three points from this one but there is undoubtedly more pressure on Manchester United, and Louis Van Gaal in particular, as failure to win here could cost the Dutch manager his job.

Van Gaal has not seen his United side win in six games in all competitions and back-to-back Premier League defeats have seen the Red Devils fall out of the top four at the midpoint of the campaign.

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A 2-1 home defeat to Norwich last weekend was a terrible result and if United perform as badly here, Stoke will surely seal all three points.

The Potters have enjoyed a solid season so far but will be disappointed not to be in the top half of the table at Christmas. They beat Manchester City 2-0 at the start of the month in a fine display but have drawn at West Ham and then lost to Crystal Palace since then.

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Mark Hughes will be desperate to see Stoke rally to beat United for just the second time in Premier League history here and the home crowd will no doubt make it a tough afternoon for the visitors.

Team News

Stoke have six injury worries ahead of the meeting with Manchester United. Geoff Cameron and Marc Muniesa are both ruled out, as are Shay Given, Stephen Ireland, Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch. Former United striker Mame Biram Diouf could return to the side to spearhead the attack.

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal is under immense pressure and so changes are expected in what is a must-win game for the Dutch coach. Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss out as he serves the final match of his three-game suspension, while midfield partner Morgan Schneiderlin is a doubt as he struggles with a hip injury. Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia are all definitely out through injury.

Key Points

Stoke’s last five: W/L/W/D/L

Manchester United’s last five: W/D/D/L/L

Key Stat: Stoke have only beaten Manchester United in one of their last 16 meetings in all competitions.

Key Player: Marko Arnautovic – The Austrian attacker is often inconsistent but put on a fine display when Stoke beat Manchester City 2-0 at the start of the month. If he can perform to those levels here, United will be in trouble.

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Score Prediction

Stoke 2-1 Manchester United – This should be a full charged and competitive match between two sides desperate to win. It will be interesting to see how the United players perform, considering the pressure their manager is under, but the home side have to be favoured based on the poor form United find themselves in.

STATS: Analysing the decline of Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a man under the spotlight. The Manchester United captain’s performances so far this season have been below his high standards and pressure is mounting on the attacker.

Some have blamed Louis Van Gaal’s philosophies, others claim he is tired, but one thing for sure is that Rooney is not the threat he should be, nor the one Manchester United need him to be.

At 30, few are expecting him to provide the energy he did five years ago. But they are expecting him to provide the spark this United team has lacked at times this season.

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The all-time leading England goalscorer has netted just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances this term. He has made double figures for league goals in each of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford so far but looks unlikely to do that by May.

He is no longer the lead striker, despite starting the season in his traditional position. Summer signings Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial have been brought in to give the United side some pace but Rooney is failing to create chances, let alone score them.

Table: Wayne Rooney's key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

Table: Wayne Rooney’s key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

The table above shows just how bad a campaign the United skipper is having. He has yet to register an assist in the Premier League this year and has registered fewer shots per game than in any of the previous four seasons.

His attacking output in general is nowhere near as effective as it needs to be. His position on the field will not change the fact that he needs to carry the Red Devils’ attack, especially with youngsters such as Jesse Lingard, Martial and Depay looking to him for inspiration.

Graph: Wayne Rooney's attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

Graph: Wayne Rooney’s attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

The graph above shows how bad the drop in form has been for Rooney in recent years. He has registered half the number of shots per game this term compared to four years ago and has seen his goal output drop by nearly 80% over the same period.

Calls are being made for Rooney to be dropped by Van Gaal. The Dutch manager substituted his captain after the hour mark in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester and it will be interesting to see how much trust is now going to be placed in the 30-year-old England star.

Manchester United’s title hopes are very much alive. If Rooney can pick back up, those hopes could turn into reality next May.

Why do you think Wayne Rooney is struggling to perform to the levels expected of him this season?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester City vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs Manchester United 

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, November 28 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Leicester City 11/5 – Draw 23/10 – Manchester United 11/8

Match Preview

Leicester City welcome Manchester United to the King Power Stadium in a top of the table clash in the late kick off on Saturday afternoon as the top two in the Premier League go head-to-head.

The home side are in a great run of form and lead the division by a point heading into this one. Claudio Ranieri’s men will be full of confidence but will also be well aware of the challenge they face in this tie.

Leicester come into the game off the back of their impressive 3-0 away win over Newcastle last weekend where Jamie Vardy equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in ten consecutive Premier League games. He will now look to break it against Van Nistelrooy’s former club.

Leicester City’s Premier League record: P13 – W8 – D4 – L1

This has the makings of a game not to miss, especially for those that remember the action-packed fixture between the sides from last season which ended 5-3 to Leicester.

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Manchester United have quietly gone about their business this season. They have come under some criticism but can top the Premier League after the weekend if they win here, regardless of other results.

Louis Van Gaal’s side come into the game off the back of their 2-1 win away at Watford, where they showed their resilience to take all three points late on.

Manchester United’s Premier League record: P13 – W8 – D3 – L2

United know how difficult of a task this is going to be and will be all too aware of how dangerous Leicester can be on the counter attack, so they cannot afford any lapses in concentration.

This game is winnable for United, but it is going to take a fine performance to stop the high-flying Leicester, and we can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

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Team News

Leicester have just the one injury concern, with Matthew James out. Ranieri will be expecting his side to continue with their committed performances and will not expect the magnitude of the tie to get to them.

Manchester United’s injury concerns are ongoing. Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick are all expected to miss out. Luke Shaw will continue to be unavailable as he recovers from that horrific leg break, but he is making steady progress.

Key Points

Leicester City’s last five: D/W/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won ten out of the last 11 meetings between the sides in all competitions.

Key Player: Jamie Vardy – All eyes will be on Vardy once more. The Englishman will be gunning to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record and what a game it could be to do it in. You can’t ignore him for the key man in this one.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 1-1 Manchester United – The two are so hard to split before kick off. Leicester are still enjoying their sensational start to the season and United are proving tough to breakdown. Score draw most likely.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Watford vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Vicarage Road – Saturday, November 21 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 100/30 – Draw 9/4 – Manchester United 10/11

Match Preview

Watford host Manchester United in the midday Premier League clash on Saturday with the Red Devils aiming to go top of the table for at least a couple of hours.

Watford haven’t been great at home recently, having only won once in their last three matches at Vicarage Road. That being said, they currently sit 11th in the table and are only one point behind Liverpool – something few would have predicted after 12 games.

For a side that is still settling into the top flight under new manager Quique Sanchez Flores, Watford have worked wonders and have exceeded expectations as they look to establish themselves as a Premier League club.

Watford’s Premier League record: P12 – W4 – D4 – L4 

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Much of their success so far has come down to the magnificent form of Odion Ighalo, who has been sensational in front of goal. The striker has contributed to a sensational 64% of their total goals tally with seven and looks a constant danger to opposition defences.

Manchester United have come under some stick recently as they’ve been branded as ‘boring’ by critics. With the best defence in the Premier League, having only conceded eight goals, Louis Van Gaal won’t be too concerned with any criticism being aimed at his side even though they have struggled in attack.

They remain unbeaten in their last four and are still occupying a top four spot. But they need to pick their form back up as they have only scored twice in their last three league outings.

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One thing for certain under Louis Van Gaal is that Manchester United will be hard to beat. The fabric of the club has changed and they have become a more possession-based, defensively sound team.

Manchester United’s record in the Premier League: P12 W7 D3 L2 

This will be the first meeting between the two clubs since 2007. Watford are faced with trying to beat United for the first time since 1986 here and will need to end a nine-game losing streak to stand any chance.

Team News

Watford are still missing Joel Ekstrand, while Jose Jurado Marin is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

Manchester United will be without Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial, Paddy McNair, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw through injury. Chris Smalling, James Wilson and Marouane Fellaini are all doubts.

Key Points

Watford’s last five: D/L/W/W/L

Manchester United’s last five: L/W/D/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won the last nine meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

Key Player: Juan Mata – The Red Devils’ playmaker has been quiet recently, even though he converted a penalty kick last time out against West Brom, so expect him to be looking to add a creative spark on Saturday as he looks to return to form.

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Score Prediction

Watford 1-2 Manchester United – We expect a low scoring game with United looking to dominate possession, even though they’re away from home. Watford should make a game of this as they tend to play with no fear, but we still expect United to take away three points as they possess a far stronger squad and are in fairly good form.

STATS: Is Memphis Depay offering enough to Manchester United?

When Manchester United splashed £25 million on Memphis Depay early in the summer, a sense of genuine excitement filled the air around Old Trafford. The Dutch winger was expected to bring an exciting array of attacking talents to the club but has he offered enough so far? Lewis Addley explores…

Memphis Depay’s incredible form with PSV Eindhoven last season left no real questions as to why Louis Van Gaal wanted to bring his compatriot to Manchester.

The Dutchman netted an impressive 22 domestic goals in 30 appearances in the 2014-15 Eredivisie campaign, but has only shown in glimpses the talent he possesses since his arrival at United.

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Depay has been a relatively quiet member of the United attack so far this season, so let’s have a look at his performances in numbers.

Depay Stats

Depay’s Premier League stats for the 2015/16 season (via Squawka)

The winger has scored just the one goal, has no assists and has created only four chances for his teammates so far this season in the Premier League.

If he was to continue at this current rate he would end the domestic campaign on five goals, without any assists and with just 19 chances created for teammates.

Now, obviously we aren’t suggesting he won’t register an assist over the whole campaign, as this is only based on his performance levels so far. But the statistics would suggest he will endure a difficult first Premier League season nonetheless.

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His shot accuracy of 44% doesn’t differ much from last season’s 47%, where his output was far greater, so no alarm bells are ringing in that department.

He created 60 chances for teammates last season, so has a lot of work to do to close the gap on that number, but it is early doors for Depay and he is playing in a more competitive side in terms of squad selection and arguably against far tougher defences in England.

A quiet first season in the Premier League for a new signing is not uncommon, but given Depay’s ability, more is to be expected from him. If he can produce the same levels as last season he could play a pivotal role in United’s chances of winning the league title this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Manchester City

Competition – Barclays Premier League – Manchester United vs. Manchester City 

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, October 25 – 14:05 GMT – (10:05 ET)

Match Odds: Manchester United 6/4 – Draw 5/2 – Manchester City 13/8

Match Preview

Manchester United welcome rivals Manchester City to Old Trafford on Sunday in the Manchester Derby and a standout fixture of the weekend in the Premier League.

This is a huge fixture for both sides even this early into the season. Manchester United sit third in the Premier League, on 19 points, trailing their opponents by two points.

Louis Van Gaal’s side have won four of their last five domestic games but come into this one off the back of a tough, well earned draw in Moscow in the Champions League in midweek.

Last weekend Manchester United thumped Everton 3-0, and they look like they mean business. Picking up points in games like these have huge implications on the title race.

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Manchester City will be looking to continue their great run of form against their rivals. They have won four of the last five meetings between the sides.

City have been in great domestic form, winning 13 of their last 15 Premier League games, but have lost two in their last five. They have scored 11 in their last two domestic games.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side come into this one off the back of thumping Bournemouth 5-1, where Raheem Sterling bagged a hat-trick. Wilfred Bony impressed, stepping in for the injured Sergio Aguero.

Manchester City have some injury problems with key players missing, but will be more than up for the task of taking points from United this weekend. They scored a late winner to take all three points against Sevilla in the Champions League in midweek, thanks again to Kevin De Bruyne.

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Team News

Manchester United have four injury concerns. Luke Shaw remains out as he recovers from his broken leg. Ashley Young, James Wilson and Paddy McNair are all doubts.

Manchester City’s injury woes continue. They’ll be without key players Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and summer signing Fabian Delph.

Key Points

Manchester United’s Form: W/W/W/L/W

Manchester City’s Form: W/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: City have won four of the last five in the Manchester Derby.

Key Player: Juan Mata – The Spaniard has been in excellent form so far this season and he will be looking to pick holes in the City defence.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City – The sides to share the points in a game full of action.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Manchester United

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, October 4 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 1/1 – Draw 13/5 – Manchester United 13/5

Match Preview

Arsenal renew their rivalry with Manchester United in a huge Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon with both sides fighting to lead the table after eight games.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger finds himself under pressure once again after he watched his side lose 3-2 at home to Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

They have been better domestically than on the continent so far this campaign and will be looking to follow up last Saturday’s 5-2 win away at Leicester here.

Arsenal’s Premier League record: P7 – W4 – D1 – L2

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Manchester United lead the Premier League after seven weeks of the new season, having only lost one game so far this term.

Louis Van Gaal’s side haven’t been dominating opponents by any stretch, but picking up three points more often than not is serving them well so far.

They beat Wolfsburg 2-1 on Wednesday night in the Champions League and have scored three goals in each of their last three league games coming into this.

Manchester United’s Premier League record: P7 – W5 – D1 – L1

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The last meeting between these rivals ended 1-1 at Old Trafford in May, though United were victorious at the Emirates last season, winning 2-1.

Team News

Arsenal will be without Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta and Laurent Koscielny as all are ruled out through injury, while Mathieu Flamini and Petr Cech are doubts but should be passed fit to play.

Manchester United have much less to worry about on the injury front. Luke Shaw remains a long-term absentee, while Marcos Rojo is also ruled out. Matteo Darmian could move back over to right-back with Daley Blind likely to be pushed out to left-back.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: D/W/W/L/W

Manchester United’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have only won one of their last 13 Premier League games against Manchester United.

Key Player: Juan Mata – The Spanish playmaker has been in excellent form so far this season and put in another special show in the Champions League on Wednesday. Expect him to create chances galore for United.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 1-1 Man United – Very difficult to split these two coming into the game. United may boast better form, but they are on the road against an Arsenal side that needs to put in a really positive performance. Wenger is under pressure to get his side winning matches and this should be a highly entertaining game as a result.